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Hat’s Off Day 2023, Burnaby Heights

We take our hats off to the community!”

Post world pandemic, people are gathering together once more. And with the return of crowds come the return of block parties such as “Hat’s Off Day”. This is Burnaby Heights’ way to celebrate their community, taking their “hat off” to them. (Hence the name).

As taken from their website, “Hats Off Day has been a grassroots festival celebrating the best of the Burnaby Heights community since the early 1980s. Today, the event has gradually grown from a small sidewalk event to a day-long celebration that begins with a Family Fun Dash, followed by a mainstreet-style Parade and Street Festival.”

This would be my first time attending the two-kilometre long street party, despite living in the area for 3 years now. The streets of Hastings were closed down from Esmond Avenue to Alpha. Police and barricades to cloister off pedestrians as they explored the open streets from side to side and end to end.

For many it is a way to get to know the neighbourhood better and see what businesses, services, restaurants, and vendors are out there. Like an open house where employees are stationed under tents to meet and greet and showcase their offerings.

For others it is a great free event to bring the family to. A reason to get outside and to take walk. We ourselves walked the expanse of the festival, totalling 4kms to see all that was available.

This year’s theme was Out of the World, with a few street performers in costume and select vendors decorating to theme.

For those who come early they were able to observe and partaken in the Family Fun Dash, plus the block party’s signature Hats Off Day Parade.

But all throughout the day there were plenty of fun activities for kids; like bouncy castles, carnival-like toss games for prizes, and arts and crafts to partake it. There were even fair toys like inflatable characters, bubble blowers, and light up swords for purchase.

There are also many live performers and artists stationed along the route. The Elvis appreciation fan club held performances on stage and road side for a more interactive affair. There were also cover bands and orchestras along the path, to ensure no stretch of block went without music.

For visuals there were acrobats climbing and dangling from tethered rope, stilt walkers giving out high-fives, and statue people freezing on spot until interacted with.

For car enthusiasts there was a Show & Shine. A collection of vehicles parked and on display ranging from vintage cars to collector bikes. And uniquely decorated campers showcasing Canadiana to a van refurbished into a shag pad with a fully furnished bar with glassware and a bed spread with fur and crushed velvet.

There was even lion dancing performances done in-front of the Chinese restaurants and businesses to help usher good fortune through the door.

For me, the appeal had to be the restaurants spilling out on to the sidewalk and offering their food to go. Barbecue meat skewers over grills, pre-made noodles and Chinese food kept warm under heat lamps, plus hotdogs and tacos made to order.

We picked up a couple of pastries from our local Gabi & Jules to avoid any lines. Not to mention, I have been meaning to check out the location and finally gotten to it during Hats Off.

“Hats Off Day attracts more than 50,000 people annually. The event is led by the Heights Merchants Association and the Hats Off Day organizing committee, with support from the City of Burnaby, several Burnaby community partners, as well as a wide range of regional and local sponsors.”

“The festival always kicks off with the Family Fun Dash at around 9:15 a.m., followed by the Parade at around 9:45 a.m. The street festival, with all its entertainment, begins at around 11 a.m.” The full and up-to-date 2023 Hats Off Day Festival event program will be posted in the link below mid-May of the corresponding year. If you missed this year’s occasion, best to keep them in mind for next year.

But in the meantime, the next block party is in Strathcona. The Strathcona Block Party is hosted by Low Tide Properties. Details of the event are to follow? as taken from their website. RSVP in the link below.


On Saturday, June 17th, from 12 — 5 PM, join us to celebrate the community of Strathcona.
* Enjoy music, food trucks, and fun activations at the 840 E Hastings parking lot
* Shop the businesses on the 600, 700, 800, and 900 blocks of E Hastings
* Have a beverage at the Strathcona Beer Garden at 895 E Hastings (Strathcona Beer Garden open until 7 PM)
* Visit MakerLabs at 780 E Cordova for tours, maker activities, open studios, live DJ, and more.
* Stop by 848 E Hastings to shop a curated pop-up market featuring makers and local brands

800 Block
Strathcona Beer (895 E Hastings): Beer Garden from 12 – 7 PM and launch of new menu items.

Prototype (883 E Hastings): Discounts on seasonal beverages.

PrintMaker Studio (881 E Hastings): Photography exhibition by Launie Wong Fairbairn, in-store DJ, Vancouver Art Walk booth, and more.

Flourist (859 E Hastings): Shop fresh milled flour and delicious baked goods.

Hype Chocolate (855 E Hastings): Free cotton candy (while supplies last).

Les Amis Du FROMAGE (843 E Hastings): Hand selected mystery cheese bag – $12 each.

EWMA (800 E Hastings): Open studio and in-store activities.

Wilet (858 E Hastings): In-store giveaways.

The Garden (868 E Hastings): Mention the Blocks Party and receive
15% off food and beverages.

Strathcona Community Policing Centre (872 E Hastings): Learn about
Strathcona safety and meet the VPD’s K9 unit.

Stop by 848 E Hastings to shop the Strathcona Market and learn about the Writer’s Exchange.

840 E Hastings programming:
* 12:00 – 1:00 PM Marlin Ramazzini Band
* 12:30 – 1:15 PM Visit from Fin the Orca
* 1:00 PM Graffiti demonstration by Corey Bulpitt
* 1:30 – 2:00 PM Scarlet Fever Band
* 2:30 – 3:15 PM Francis Henson Performance
* 3:30 – 4:15 PM Francis Henson Performance
* 4:30 – 5:00 PM Vancouver Fire Rescue Services Band
* Large games, seating, and eats from Japa Dog and Mama’s Fish and Chips

900 Block
VV Tapas Lounge (957 E Hastings): Outdoor BBQ, all day happy hour, and in-store wine tasting.

700 Block
MakerLabs (780 E Cordova): Community mural, member showcases, and facilities tours at 1 PM, 2:30 PM, and 4 PM.

Vancouver Public Library (730 E Hastings): In-store button making workshop from 1 – 5 PM.

Visit the Bibliobike in front of 877 E Hastings
Eastside Arts Society & Outsiders and Others (716 E Hastings): Outdoor sidewalk draw-in and in-store art activities.

600 Block
Fazakas Gallery (659 E Hastings): Art exhibition by Corey Bulpitt.

Coastal Eden Café (643 E Hastings): Stop by for a coffee and a sweet treat.

Mónica Reyes Gallery (602 E Hastings): Art exhibition by Ken Lum.

Forastera Vintage (688 E Hastings): Shop hand selected vintage pieces.

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